By Angel Park and Florencia Catanzaro, Child Life Specialists
The Adolescent Prenatal Program empowers young mothers and their supports to participate in a healthy pregnancy. Within an encouraging environment, young parents-to-be receive comprehensive care from the medical and child life team. The medical team focuses on providing resources and support related to breast feeding, psycho-social care and any concerns related to pregnancy. In addition, once the doctor provides medical clearance, the mothers-to-be begin engaging in child birth activities including comfort positions, relaxation techniques, use of music and the voice, comfort measures, stages of labor and early baby care.
The prenatal group is co-facilitated by a child life specialist and a music therapist. Florencia Catanzaro has recently been certified as a childbirth educator through Birth Arts International. In addition, she has a degree in physical education and is a certified fitness instructor. Angel Park has a degree in music therapy, certification in vocal psychotherapy and has received training in Music Therapy Assisted Childbirth from Sound Birthing Music.
Below are snippets of the program in action:
The first three pictures show couples and grandparents learning various comfort positions. Experiencing alternate positions can promote body awareness, balance and posture, and alleviate common pregnancy discomfort (Simkin, 1918). In addition, the father of the baby and grandparents have an opportunity to understand the role as a support person and how they can be present throughout the labor process.
Furthermore, recorded music is paired with various movements. Music is carefully selected by a music therapist based on preference, tempo, style, melody and instrumentation (DiCamillo, 2015). Young couples explore different styles of music and are educated on how to incorporate recorded music effectively during early stages of labor.
The next two pictures demonstrate couples and grandparents learning about the benefits of swaddling and how to swaddle a newborn. For more information, refer to Gaskin’s “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth” (2009, p. 110-111).
A young couple eagerly practices swaddling prior to a doctor’s visit.
Parents-to-be are learning about diaper changing. Each couple is provided with an opportunity to practice and ask questions. A great way to involve support people!
Not only are we educating our young parents-to-be, but we are also witnessing their own changes as they integrate themselves into the group by developing self-confidence and accepting responsibilities.